Public Appeal from European Parliament Member to Government of Norway

Tomáš Zdechovský is a member of the European Parliament, and he just dropped a public hammer on Solveig Horne, the Minister of Youth and Equality from Norway. This is a public appeal on behalf of Eva Michalakova, the Bodnariu family, the family of baby Aria and others. Perhaps Romanian politicians should do the same. Write public letters, demand meetings with Norway’s government and push hard for the release of the Children confiscated unfairly by Barnevernet.

Dear Madame Minister,

I turn to you publicly as the Member of the European Parliament and the member of the Czech Petition Committee for the support of Eva Michalakova’s family. I have been helping Eva Michalakova’s family over a long time to get her sons David and Denis removed in spring 2011 by the Norwegian social services in Nedre Eiker back to her care. Despite the fact that all suspicions that served as the impulse for the removal of her children have been cancelled or disproved (the report from the Police confirmed that she did not offend against her children in any way), both sons remain in foster care, and were split into two different foster families without any explanation.
I turn to you with knowing that my colleague, Mrs. Jitka Chalankova, the Member of the Czech Parliament, and Czech lawyers of Eva Michalakova have already contacted you as well. Since the case of Eva Michalakova’s children has been dragging on for five years already and still is not coming to an end, I would like to ask you personally to include this case into the group of selected cases that will be thoroughly investigated again. I am convinced that the results of such investigation will prove fatal mistakes of Barnevern officers in Nedre Eiker who acted not only in contrary to the international law for the protection of children and families but also in my opinion broke the Norwegian legislation. When reading all evidences I noticed that the behaviour of the officers in Nedre Eiker has been very specifically focused on the adoption of Eva Michalakova’s children from the very beginning, and that such behaviour does not have to be necessarily motivated only by their personal aversion to her, nor by their incompetence or indolence, alternatively by their aversion to foreigners in general, but that some form of antipathy or personal relationships can play some role in the case as well. I believe that the responsible investigation of the case will bring the possibility to unite the broken family again.
At the same time I would like to point out some statements of the Norwegian ambassador in the Czech Republic to the situation of the case. Unfortunately her words ended up in contrary to the subsequent development of the case. The Norwegian ambassador in the Czech Republic for example publicly refused the fact that the publicizing of the case could be the reason for the removal of the parental legal rights in Norway. Shortly after that, in September 2015, the regional committee in Drammen removed Eva Michalakova from parental legal rights with reference to the publicizing of the case. Eva Michalakova immediately appealed against the decision and the Norwegian ambassador publicly stated in Czech media that the court of appeals would, in the interest of the children, take place as soon as possible. In November the date of the hearing was set for February. However the hearing was adjourned only few days before the beginning. And it happened in time when whole Czech family of David and Denis had air tickets to Norway where they wanted to support Eva Michalakova and witnessed her readiness for the children’s return to their own biological family. As the reason the court gave the shortage of interpreters. Such reason can be considered, given the urgency of the situation and time when the children have to stay away from their home, absolutely irrelevant. Moreover the court itself set the date of the hearing and therefore the court had enough time from November to arrange for interpreters. I suppose that the reason for the adjournment must be always very serious. And that is why I consider the lack of interpreters absolutely unforgivable amateur procedure.
At the same time children’s grandparents were again prohibited from meeting with the children because of the stress from the court hearing. An argument from last September was the stress from the beginning of the school year for a change. The children have stayed in foster families for four years already without any chance to meet their families and it is obvious that they are kept in such isolation without any information about the real interest of their family intentionally. In my opinion the fact that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is constantly violated, specifically the article stating that children have the right to be in touch with their biological families, is a big problem.
Dear Madame Minister,
In the European Parliament I have been dealing with the issues of children being removed from their parents in Norway for more than a year already, not only in response to the case of the Czech family of Eva Michalakova. Since the number of complaints about the procedures of Barnevern addressed to the European Parliament increased, I intent to keep dealing with this issue very intensively. Last June I organized a round table meeting on this topic in the European Parliament where many Members of the European Parliament and the Norwegian ambassador were present. This topic became the subject of the meetings of the EU Legal Committee working group. I have met Norwegian diplomats many times, I have received personally representatives of the families from Norway from which their children were removed by the Norwegian social service and who were prohibited to meet their children without the explanation of the reasons, without the offer of help, without the possibility to prove their parental abilities and love to their children. I am aware of a few hundreds of such cases and I am sure it is just the tip of the iceberg.
I am sure you are aware that there have been the worldwide protests against the procedures of Barnevernet for a few months already. These protests firstly reacted especially on the case of Bodnari family from which five children were removed including one three months old breast-fed baby. I am being informed about this case in details and I am in touch with the family with the help of my co-workers. Last week I was informed that the Bodnari family got one child back. It is certainly good, but at the same time it raises a question about the logic of the decision to return one child of five, only the youngest one. Similar decisions raise repeatedly a question about the logicality of the Norwegian procedures.
I am also aware of the case of Ken Olsen and his daughter Aria who was removed from her parents right from the maternity hospital and whose parents can meet her only four times a year for two hours under the stern supervision of Barnevern. I was shocked also by another case of a Czech mother whose seriously ill few months old daughter waiting for the kidney transplant surgery was removed from her. After three months of violent separation her parents succeeded only with help of the detailed records kept by the hospital proving calculated lies of the Barnevernet officers. This case caused another huge uproar in the Czech Republic.
One happy end is rising among tens of other affected families, and that is the case of the Norwegian-Slovakian couple whose fully breast-fed daughter was removed from them because of inadequate eye contact (in reality probably because of the mother’s handicap – she is deaf). Despite the fact that the parents were proved right by the court and their daughter should have been returned to them, Barnevernet has not returned the girl to her family yet.
Dear Madame Minister,
I am sure that you are fully aware of the urgency of the situation regarding Barnevern, because the steps you take in the field of the childcare are getting clearly to the improvement of the situation of families and their children. I believe that you will not forget about the rectification of the wrongs done by the officers of Barnevernet especially in some towns and localities in the past. It is not possible to only leave it as it is referring that children have already got used to their foster families, especially if there is their own loving family and parents waiting for them.
The argument that children have already got used to their foster families is absolutely unacceptable, not even from the legal point of view, but also from the human perspective. As a father of three children I can confirm that I would never reconcile myself to it. Moreover the argument is perceived exceptionally sensitively in the Czech Republic with respect to the village Lidice and its inhabitants during the World War II. As a reaction to the successful attempt on Reinhard Heydrich’s life – R. Heydrich was one of the closest people of Adolf Hitler – the Nazis randomly chose one Czech village (Lidice) and not only burnt it down or murdered all men and sent all women to concentration camps but also sorted out all children. Those suited for the re-education were placed in families in Germany and those “racially unsuitable” were killed. The Nazis sent not only children from Lidice to Germany for the re-education. A book by Zdenka Bezdekova about such “re-education” of a little girl They Called Me Leni was translated into many languages including Swedish and Danish, and I am sure the book is available to Norwegian readers as well. When the war ended children returned home. Nobody even thought about leaving them in German families, even though they often got used to them and forgot speaking Czech. The Czech public perceives the destiny of Denis and David Michalak also in this terrifying context. Since Norway was until recently perceived very positively, such cases lead to the disillusion and disappointment with Norway.
I take your promise made at the end of the last year about the investigation of the mistakes made by the Norwegian social service very seriously and I would like to express you my full support in this matter and alternatively offer you my knowledge and help. I wish that the situation of children removed for no reason and placed in foster families would be solved as soon as possible. I am sure that parents of those children are fully aware of the traumas their children had to go through and are ready to cooperate with specialists and current foster families. The reason is very simple. They love their children and want to give them the love that officers of Barnevern denied them. The sooner it will happen the better, and the negative publicity Norway is getting not even in the Czech Republic but also in other European and non-European countries regarding the Barnevernet’s work will fade away.
Yours sincerely,
Tomáš Zdechovský
Member of the European Parliament (EPP)

33 comments on “Public Appeal from European Parliament Member to Government of Norway

  1. Big thanks to Tomas Zdechovsky for supporting the families. The more pressure, the better.

    Why isn’t it it’s such a big deal for BV when children are sent to another foster parent or institution, but returning them to their own families could cause them trauma?

    A very fine letter indeed. The Czechs, particularly Tomáš Zdechovský, have worked very seriously with this tragedy of Norwegian CPS treatment of children for such a long time, and that was the start of the upsurge of interest abroad from the spring of last year on.

  3. Here is a video from the demonstration in Geneva, Marianne:-) It was so lovely to be there, united in love and support for the Bodnariu family and those who have been unjustly treated by barnevernet!

    • Thank you Hildi and everybody for the photos and speeches. Great

      Hildi Instated for 3 months near Lausanne. But it’s ages ago I have forgotten French. Beautiful country.

    • Thank you very much, Hildi. I sent the link to all the publications I am in touch with and then I realized it is just 2:28 min long 🙂 Do you have the full version of it?

    • Thank you, Hildi. What a wonderful group you had! I am putting up these videos little by little on my blog, trying to put them in order around the world. I’m a bit geographically challenged so I will do my best. Currently, I have only put up the one in Hot Springs and Los Angeles and I have started my “around the world march” with the one in Brisbane. Can’t wait until I get to Switzerland.

      Another demonstration will probably be necessary.before I’ve made it around the world and re-post the one in Los Angeles (along with the others in California).

    • Thank you, Hildi! Actually, I am proud to have beaten you to it – I had that same video already! Please don’t feel I am getting too uppety.
      I made several different postings for the 16th April demonstrations in our “Demonstrations abroad” thread here:
      The sections/postings are just for practical purposes: Oceania, Romania, Norway, The rest of Europe, America, and then yesterday the little demos in Gambia and Pakistan!
      I certainly haven’t “found” everything and there are some numbers (of demonstrators) from Daniel to be checked and inserted, but at least it gives a decent impression of what is going on, I think.

      We have a new video out from Oslo now:
      “Protest against barnevern 16.04.2016 video 1”

      This first version has Russian texting, because the photographer who has helped us is a Russian-speaker, so he can do that first texting so easily (there were some Russian speakers at the demo, and the interviews with them he has texted in English), and he disseminates the videos about Barnevernet eastwards, which is valuable. He will be making a Norwegian-texted version and an English one, and more videos from Oslo, and so will another photographer who filmed it all and who is texting away. But we all work from the “goodness of our hearts” in our spare hours, so it takes time.

    • I am sorry that I haven`t answered you till now. I was very busy the last days.

      I guess they made the video short because everything (apart from one speech) was in French and Romanian. But for a great part we sung together. So the video shows the essence of the demonstration we had in Geneva.

      I am in touch with the church that organized the demonstration. If there is any kind of information any of you would like to have, I am sure they will provide it and I can hand it off to you.

      Unfortunately, I don`t know French…. I live in the German speaking part. So I can translate the French parts.

      Pavla, So fun to hear that you have been to Switzerland and stayed for 3 months! I have been wondering where you come from Pavla?
      I always like to read what you write! So often you write exactly the same as I think:-)

      • Thank you Hildi, I like your comments as well, we agree on many things. I am Czech, but I live in Holland since 2004. I have been to Switzerland few times. Mostly in the German part, near Basel. We have friends who live there.Beautiful country.

        • Pavla,looks like you are quite international then, like me:-) I am Norwegian. But I grew up in Hong Kong as a missionary kid. My husband grew up in Dresden in Germany ( close to your home country:-) His granparents on his mothers side emigrated from Germany to Luzern in Switzerland. He came here with his family when he was 16. I have been living here in Switzerland for 24 years now. My surname sounds almost Czech ; Dölitzsch :-)enough said about me. So nice to get to know people on the net!

  4. I think the Czechs, along with the Romanians, the Indians and the Russians should unite and form a coalition, and fight together the injustice and the inhumane treatment of families done by Barnevernet – the Child Poaching Service of Norway.
    No family should have to go through this Barnevernet-caused hell ever again!

  5. This is very welcome news, Delight.

    As I have just learned from Marianne, this man has been outspoken on this issue for some time. I hope some of his friends in powerful positions will also take such a stand.

    • Indeed Tomáš Zdechovský has been active. The case of Eva Michaláková was brought to our attention initially by Jan Simonsen (a friend, twin brother of Aage Simonsen, who has been an active CPS fighter for over 20 years), who lives in Prague part of the year. Jan Simonsen wrote about the case, was interviewed quite a lot in Prague, and has conferred with Zdechovský a lot.

      We on our side made a thread on the Forum Redd Våre Barn (Rescue Our Children) about that case, and you can easily see the extent Zdechovský’s efforts from that:
      “Czech family seriously damaged by Norwegin child protection service (CPS)”
      Jan is of course very familiar with the CPS issues from his brother, and has published a lot about it on his own blog I have translated some of Jan’s articles into English. The language situation is such that most people in Norway have some English, but they might feel it takes too long to write in English. (Jan is a journalist and publishes every day on his blog things of special interest to him, lots of stuff not covered by the mainstream media.) My trouble is that it takes a lot of time for me too, to translate. I could easily have work for 2-3 competent full-time assistants – instead I am just a private person, so my disposable time is limited and I have to concentrate mainly on what other Norwegians do not do, to write articles myself in English, on aspects of Barnevernet I am particularly familiar with.

      • I think you have made a wise decision, Marianne. We all have 24 hours in a day. Prioritizing is sometimes difficult but we do the best we can. You know a lot and I’m sure you plan on learning more. However, one of the key things you are doing is communicating what you already know. English is probably the best known language, in general, in the parts of the world where this is a problem. Many of the Romanians at our protest speak English, particularly the youth.
        The Czech’s (like the Romanians) seem to be better acquainted with this problem than the Americans. The percentage of Americans who know about this is very low. That needs to change and I think we are heading in the right direction. I am grateful for what I have learned from you Marianne.

  6. If ever read by someone in the government Office in Norway I think the last paragraphs about Nazis and Lidice give this document a place down in the bottom drawer.

    As I have understood this going through done by Helsetilsynet it’s a decision that has been on the Horne block since late 2015. The going through is to get knowledge – I don’t think it’s meant to be a control that alters any thing in past cases. Helsetilsynet is no legal part. Maybe they get the mandate to send some case back to the local CPS’s for new considerations, but the outcome if that is done is unsure – the time passed – consequences good and bad – the seriousness of the wrong in the case a.s.o.

    • Comparison with Lidice is wrong? I rarely use it myself but I understand what they mean. Claiming that a child can not be returned back to the biological family, because it has established a good relationship to the fosters..come on, what are the parents supposed to say. They are fighting to get their children back, then they win at court but children can not return because it’s such a long time?/Do you think that parents are robots to accept it? I would never

      • If parents win, BV has to respect the verdict. They have only the right to put the couse to “higher” court of appeal, nothing more. This open letter is adressed to Mr Zdechovsky´s (prospective) voters in reality.
        I must agree with this comment from Norway, give us… website (so true):

        June Kotlarova The letter is a bit unprofessional. It’s a bit offensive. Some sentences should not be in the letter. Also, formal letters with requests should be written rather as short as possible. Otherwise, the recipient will loose the interest to read it. I also understand the end of the letter as a sort of blackmail ( you return the kids, sort things out or we will never stop the protests!). That doesn’t work if you want somebody to do what you want. The letter should be more diplomatic.

        I think Mrs Horne won´t respond to this letter at all. If she react, I expect that her answer will be a very fomal one..

        • Veronika even if children can be returned, even if the original accusations is proven wrong, the children are not always returned because they have established good relationship to fosters. That is not such a problem. Many children if they are small enough, can do that. But it’s wrong. Parents can work with the fosters and increase visitation first and then return. It should not be abrupt.

        • Pavla, you are so right in all you have “said” here.

          Knut, according to my short research a.s.o. means “I see.” If this is your meaning, the truth is the reverse.

          Veronika, We expect Mrs. Horne not to respond. Who is June Kotlarova? Of course this letter would offend to any CPS minion. Protests are blackmail? Many of us have the same view as Tomas Zdechovsky. In your world that makes all of us blackmailers. We are not. We are people who care about the lives of innocent people.

  7. Pingback: Appeal from European Parliament Member to Government of Norway | Pastor Ciprian Barsan

  8. According to fresh Czech news articles, Norwegian Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of Eva Michalakova, so the case can go to European Court of Human Rights now

    As long as Thomas Zdechovsky was right about the comments about the Appeal Court’s judgement, Norwegian justice system is going to get grilled in Steasbourg I guess… unfolding all the filth and mess.

    “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

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